Amidst numerous distractions faced by flight attendants, it was shear divine intervention that Shelia Fedrick who has been a flight attendant for years, rescued a young girl from modern slavery.
According to the report, while fulfilling her daily routine job, Ms. Fedrick noticed a teenage girl – about 14 or 15-year old, flying with an older man. Her instinct revolted against the fact that the man was well-dressed while the girl looked haggard and disheveled.
In her interview with WTSP, the attendant said she didn’t feel right about the situation. Fedrick said:
“Something in the back of my mind said something is not right.
“I also noticed that whenever she asked the girl a question, it was the man who answered. He was controlling her.”
Ms. Fedrick sprung into action immediately in the most discreet way in other not to arouse suspicion. She whispered to the girl to go to the bathroom where she left a note on the mirror for her. It was the chilling response of the girl that confirmed Shelia’s suspicion – the girl was a victim of modern-day slavery.
“I left a note in one of the bathrooms. She wrote back on the note and said ‘I need help’. I called the pilot and told him about the passengers, and when the plane landed, police were waiting in the terminal.”
The flight attendant has just changed the perilous course of a young girls life and future. Fedrick lamented at how she could have easily missed the chance of saving someone’s life.
“I’ve been a flight attendant for ten years and its like I am going all the way back to when I was in training and I was like I could have seen these young girls and young boys and didn’t even know.”
Centuries after slave trades was abolished, one would’ve thought that through the evolution of civilization humans will abandon such preposterous practice. Instead, it is recorded that slave trade in the form of human trafficking has become worse than centuries ago – with millions of victims around the world.
Thankfully, flight attendants are now being trained to spot the signs for human trafficking. Signs like someone who appears to be controlled, who is bruised or battered or someone who won’t answer questions or make eye contact; passengers who appear frightened, ashamed or nervous; people traveling with someone who doesn’t appear to be a parent or relative.
They are also being trained on how to put their skills to use in densely-packed airports. And Ms. Fadrick just utilized her skill and intuition to bust one out of millions of traffickers around the globe. Experts have revealed that sex work is always on the rise when travel increases for a big event, thus sex work and human trafficking often go hand-in-hand.
Experiences shared by some flight attendants shows how complicated it could get to discover a victim as some of these victims travel under the guise of becoming actresses and models.
The young girl was so grateful that she called to thank Ms. Fedrick a few weeks later after her rescue. She has now enrolled in college for further education.
Frederick advised as she shared her story in the new program that trains flight attendants to spot the signs of human trafficking. She said:
“If you see something, say something.”